Penguins re-sign Sutter to two-year deal
Brandon Sutter has been busy this offseason, taking a trip to Hawaii and also camping.
After signing a two-year, $6.6 million contract Tuesday, the Penguins' third-line center can plan another trip or invest in new gear.
Sutter's playoff performance — five goals in 13 games, a plus-7, plenty of strong defensive work — resulted in a $600,000 raise while ensuring he's in position to cash in when the contract ends after the 2015-16 season.
The deal carries a $3.3 million cap hit each of the next two seasons.
“It's been a fun summer,” said Sutter, 25. “It's nice to get this done. Now I can worry about relaxing a bit more.”
Sutter, who was a restricted free agent, is coming off a 13-goal, 26-point season that saw him thrive despite a revolving door of linemates.
In 415 career games, Sutter has 77 goals and 75 assists, with five consecutive seasons of 10 ore more goals.
The signing comes five days after forward Nick Spaling, who scored a career-high 13 goals for Nashville last season, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $4.4 million contract.
Like Spaling, Sutter preferred a longer deal and a lesser annual salary.
“I definitely wanted to avoid (a one-year contract),” Sutter said. “I wasn't too keen on it. I don't think many guys would be. A lot can happen in just a short time, in one year. I definitely wanted to have a two-year deal and not have to worry about it for a while.”
Sutter and Spaling figure to play together on the third line, potentially with another offseason acquisition in forward Steve Downie.
“They did a good job bringing in some guys who have been in the league for a while, some gritty forwards who can play,” Sutter said. “I'm excited to have a chance to get to know some of them first, then have a chance to play with them.”
The deal leaves the Penguins with about $900,000 in salary cap space, meaning outside of a tryout or two, a busy offseason likely has come to a close.
Sutter has one of the most famous surnames in hockey — he's Brent Sutter's son. He was drafted in the first round (11th overall) in 2007 by current Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford while he was with the Hurricanes and set career highs with 21 goals and 40 points with Carolina in 2009-10.
During the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, former Penguins winger Jussi Jokinen told the Tribune-Review that Sutter was “kind of a classic, two-way Canadian center who skates well, is really responsible and good on everything.”
Sutter tried to downplay the significance of his playoff performance, although he admitted it probably didn't hurt.
“I thought I played my best the last two or three months of the season,” Sutter said. “I'm sure that always helps a little bit.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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